AM350 stainless steel bellows used in the control rod drive mechanism of a fast breeder reactor failed after 1000 h of service in sodium at 550 deg C (1020 deg F). Helium leak testing indicated that leaks had occurred at various regions of the welded joints between the convolutes in the bellows. The weld failure was attributed to poor quality assurance during fabrication, which resulted in cracklike openings at the fusion zone. The openings extended during tensile loading. Use of proper welding procedures and quality control measures were recommended to prevent future failures.
Three 1006 carbon steels team/water separators failed in a boiler in installation after several years of service. Annual inspection had revealed no evidence of deterioration until the last inspection, when they were removed from service. Metallurgical investigation determined that the separators had deteriorated because of erosion corrosion. Further analysis of the boiler operation revealed that operational changes made in the last year of service caused an increase in velocity of the water/steam mixture. It was recommended that the operating parameters for the boiler be reevaluated and prior levels of operation be reinstituted.